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FCC Continues To Push Broadband Into Every Home

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in accordance with Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, completed his investigation into the state of broadband Internet inside of the United States. The overall progress report was positive, and the FCC is pushing forward with initiatives to help increase the availability of broadband.

The progress report showed that the number of users with broadband access increased to roughly 90 percent, a seven percent increase nationwide. Rural areas jumped up from just 47 percent of users with broadband access in 2013, to 61 percent in 2014. Although this is still not ideal, it does show considerable growth in a relatively short amount of time.

To further help spread broadband across the nation, the FCC signed agreements with multiple ISPs that insured these companies would invest over $1.5 billion in their networks by the end of 2020. The FCC has also agreed to help fund these initiatives by investing over $2.8 billion to connect schools and libraries with broadband connections in excess of 100 MB/s.

With the increased efforts of the FCC to connect all citizens of the United States with broadband-level Internet connections, we should expect to see these percentages continue to climb over the next few years.

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Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.
  • jayracer7474
    This is a bogus article, basically the government trying to take credit for private sector gains after the hostile takeover they forced on us last year. I'm the asst director of IT for a public school in a rural area and we already have 1gb Internet to every site. The amount of hoops we have to go through to get the funding is literally a nightmare. Its beaurcracy hell with all kind of stipulations and made up terminology, as if we dont have enough work already. Before I was hired we had a contract through MFN which they highly pushed the district on to because it was the easiest to sign up for and we had at the speed 50mb wan and 15mb intranet between sites. So an entire school of 1000 kids had 1 15 mb connection and we paid 800k a year for that privilege. When we were up on contract comcast ran our own private fiber network with 1gb connections for 140k a year. The hoops and extra work we had to go through to make it happen on erate (federal school amd library money) was absolutely ridiculous and took over a year of paperwork.
    Reply
  • dwthomasjr
    I agree that the federal programs are complete crap for education. When I was working as the network admin for a local school district we could only get funding approved for one location so we had to come out of pocket to install fiber from the IT office to all of the schools in order to get them internet access since the local ISP would not allow us to lease lines to the schools then pipe internet over the leased lines. In a very rural county this was a hard financial strain as two of the schools where 20-25 miles away from the IT office in the county seat.
    Reply
  • anathema_forever
    I am a bit curious on the definition of "Broadband" and rural. half a mile out of a city or town is rural, or something and satellite and maybe cellular data now count as broadband?
    Reply
  • sylentz199
    "FCC signed agreements with multiple ISPs that insured these companies would invest over $1.5 billion in their networks by the end of 2020"
    Straight into their pockets. Govt has been giving them money for nothing for a while. And then they act like running fiber everywhere costs too much and start throttling
    Reply
  • dark_lord69
    "FCC signed agreements with multiple ISPs that insured these companies would invest over $1.5 billion in their networks by the end of 2020"
    Straight into their pockets. Govt has been giving them money for nothing for a while. And then they act like running fiber everywhere costs too much and start throttling
    ISP's in the Minneapolis Metro are running fiber directly to people's homes.
    (Century Link & Comcast)

    CentryLink has already offered me a 1 Gb/s connection over fiber and said they would run the line directly into my house.

    Comcast is expected to offer 2 Gb/s but I have seen no promotions advertising such speeds to me.

    The downfall is that both connections come with a premium (monthly) price tag. I'll stick to my 100 Mb/s connection, which is more than enough for most families (FYI).
    Reply
  • ahnilated
    My questions is you see the article states
    "The FCC has also agreed to help fund these initiatives by investing over $2.8 billion to connect schools and libraries with broadband connections in excess of 100 MB/s."
    I wonder if they meant Mb as it is a HUGE difference.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    Alot of people in rural area's live too far off the road for comcast to offer them internet, without spending $10k to run cable from the street to the house.

    If they had a system of a directed wifi from the street to the home, it would be nice for the last 40% of people in rural areas without broadband. As long as you lived a few miles from any main road, you could have internet. Latency would be high, but at least you'll get decent broadband speeds.
    Reply
  • falchard
    The cost in rural areas is actually cheaper than people think. Maybe $5k per household which is about the same for other homes. The problem with some estimates is that they simply extrapolate urban costs. But 80% of urban costs are from civil engineering, planning, and getting local approval. Much of this is not an issue for rural sites.
    The physical construction work tends to be cheaper as well.
    One problem with rural sites is complying with the environmental agencies standards which is 20% of the cost. After all soil in a watershed is considered dumping pollutants in a navigable stream.
    I would say getting to 98% should not be an issue. We would actually be there if we still considered 1.5 mb/s as broadband. The last 2% are in much more extreme environments with longer runs, like Alaska.
    As far as education funding, it should be getting easier with the wider adoption of school choice. With schools having 200 students, the complexity of internet infrastructure is simpler.
    Reply
  • Myst_
    What a load of garbage.

    I'm 15 miles outside of a 300k city and the dial-up doesn't even work.

    CableOne apparently owns rights to the area and claim to have service where they do not.

    I'll just keep on keeping on with my $100/mo 1.5MB line-of-sight wifi.
    Reply
  • DrakeFS
    My questions is you see the article states
    "The FCC has also agreed to help fund these initiatives by investing over $2.8 billion to connect schools and libraries with broadband connections in excess of 100 MB/s."
    I wonder if they meant Mb as it is a HUGE difference.

    The article is probably correct as 100MB\s is a 1Gb\s connection.
    Reply